Well, in a nutshell, most people find snorkeling either easy or at least “not too hard”. However, the difficulty of snorkeling depends on a whole lot of circumstances.
In this article we teach you everything you need to know about the difficulty of snorkeling.
Things To Consider
For a good amount of people, snorkeling is fairly easy. It all depends on a few factors to take into consideration.
Can You Swim?
If you’re able to swim, or even better, if you’ve been swimming for a long time already, you have a big advantage. Obviously, snorkeling happens in the water. Any snorkel experience is the greatest whenever you combine it with swimming. Think of it as an underwater exploration, a journey that could hide a lot of secrets. If you want to hunt for oceanic treasures, yes, swimming is pretty much required. If you can swim, you’re already half way there.
For people that can’t swim, or who aren’t able to do so, snorkeling is much harder. They will rightfully say they find it difficult. Learning how to swim, and trying snorkeling for the first time, is a pretty hard job. Especially since it requires you to stay calm. Learning two things at once is often stressful, so try to avoid that.
Tip: Feel free to read our related article called “Does snorkeling require swimming?“.
What’s Your Age?
You probably figured this out already, but your age may play a role as well. If you’re an adult, maybe even practicing a few sports, your muscles will come in handy when snorkeling.
For children it can be a difficult task, and I’d suggest they don’t try it too soon. So no, for children snorkeling is definitely not always easy. Once a child learns how to swim, let’s say at the age of 4, things could change. It all depends on the child as well, some are quick learners, some just don’t have an interest in water, there’s no golden rule about snorkeling here.
Tip: Make sure to read our “Giant Guide For Snorkeling With Kids” in case you want to know everything about that topic.
How’s Your Health?
As long as snorkeling is a recreational activity, most of us will be able to give it a go. However, if you have any health issues, maybe you stumble upon difficulties. It’s important to breathe properly for example. Long and deep breaths, especially for beginners, makes snorkeling a whole lot less stressful. Some people may ask themselves: Can you snorkel when pregnant? Good question. Or, can you snorkel with glasses? Another interesting topic. Some people even wonder if they can you snorkel with dentures? There’s a solution to all of these questions, but they might make snorkeling more difficult.
What Are Your Expectations?
Personally, one of my favorite things is to snorkel near the reefs, bring my GoPro and explore the ocean floor (if you’re interested, I have a giant guide about snorkeling with a GoPro). Now, would I advise this to someone who never ever tried snorkeling? I’m not saying it’s hard, everything from that, but I’d say take it slow. If you expect too much, and you want to try all kinds of things, you may have set your bar too high. And you’ll end up thinking “that wasn’t easy at all”. If on the other hand you’re already happy to explore a few fish and make it back to the shore, now that could be pretty easy.
Anxiety could interfere with your ability to snorkel as well. If you’re not afraid of the ocean, it’s marine life and it’s changing currents, sure, snorkeling could be pretty easy for you. But what if you’re anxious about everything that could go wrong? Snorkeling may not be easy for you if that’s how you feel, even though you want to experience it so badly. We dedicated a whole article towards this topic. For anyone interested, it’s called “Are You Scared To Snorkel?“.
Experience makes the master they say. In other words, people who went snorkeling a bunch of times will most likely refer to it as “an easy thing to do”. And sure, to them it definitely is. Without any experience it could be much harder though. Breathing through a snorkel with your head underwater goes against our human habits. Yes, you can learn it very quickly, but your first impression could be that snorkeling is not as easy as “they” say.
After a little practice, snorkeling in a calm and clear ocean is most likely not a big problem. At least, for most of us. Strong currents, winds, clouds or even rain can have an influence on the difficulty level. Even experienced snorkelers could run into big challenges and may say “that was pretty tough”. Again, snorkeling is usually considered an easy sport or hobby, as long as you don’t get yourself into trouble. Here’s a link to our advise on snorkeling in the rain.
This somehow connects with weather conditions, but let’s take a moment for educational purposes. A little research will already tell you about weather conditions in a certain area, and about the possibilities of extreme currents. However, make sure to also pay attention to the scenery. Is the water shallow? Is the ocean floor rocky? Are there reefs nearby? Are there any people surfing or kayaking? In order to call snorkeling “easy”, pay attention to these factors. Each snorkel location comes with separate pro’s and con’s.
What Gear Do You Use?
Just like any other activity, wearing proper gear will definitely assist you. Snorkel masks that leak water, snorkels without a dry top, fins that don’t fit properly, they all can make snorkeling a hassle. Therefore, make sure you have access to good quality gear. Most likely you’ll find snorkeling “easy” indeed.
Snorkeling with a beard for example could influence the seal of your mask. Read the article if this applies to you, we provide some handy tips. Even though full face snorkel masks could do the trick, this is not always the case.
People who snorkel for the first time with a life vest will find it much easier than people who don’t. Off course, this isn’t a set rule, but since you’re floating by yourself it definitely enhances the whole experience. Maybe someone without a life vest will tell you snorkeling is hard, whilst someone else would explain how easy it was with whatever floating accessory they used.
Snorkeling comes with the risk of dehydration. I mentioned this a couple of times in some other articles, but let’s mention it here as well. Imagine yourself on a sunny beach, you’re all excited about the palm trees, you go get your gear, you practice in a pool, and then it’s finally time for your first oceanic snorkel experience. You’re thrilled but somehow you start to feel dizzy. You promised yourself to give this a go, but it just doesn’t seem to be what you were hoping for. Not always, but often, this is the result of not drinking enough water. Was snorkeling easy? Probably not. Would it be easy if you weren’t dehydrated? Probably yes.
Even though a lot of people simply put on their snorkel gear and go with the flow, remember that most holiday destinations come with the opportunity to take snorkel lessons. A snorkel instructor will teach you a whole lot of tricks and tips, some of which you may have never thought about yourself. Even if it’s just a single lesson, it can already make the difference for any beginner. If you’re a bit nervous or even frightened, having a teacher will increase your chances of finding snorkeling easy.
Remember: You should never snorkel alone anyways.
For most of us, snorkeling is easy. For some however it can be difficult. A whole lot of things can influence our experience, which results in a variety of opinions regarding this topic.
Snorkeling comes with risks. So make sure to always do your research first. If you choose a calm ocean with shallow waters and if you avoid strong currents, there’s a big chance you find snorkeling easy. As long as you know what you are doing and as long as you are healthy. If you’re not exactly sure, always consult with your doctor.
For me personally, snorkeling is not hard. But I can definitely understand why for some it could be. I find singing hard, whilst other people are born with a magical voice. We’re all different, so I guess you’re the only one that decides for yourself if snorkeling is easy.
In case you need more information, or if you’d like more personal stories, consider this topic on TripAdvisor.